Tuesday, August 2, 2011

B6000 — You know you want it (once you know what it is)

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 4:44 PM

A big congrats to Bristol Brewing Company , who will release its 6,000th batch of beer at 5 o'clock today in its tasting room, to be available in 750 ml bomber bottles in liquor stores tomorrow.

The beer, called B6000, is a Belgian Dubbel weighing in at 8 percent ABV.

A milestone beer with a robot-sounding name: what could be cooler?
  • A milestone beer with a robot-sounding name: what could be cooler?

From a newsletter penned by Bristol beerocrat Laura Long, here's everything you care to know about the special beer:


We have a confession to make: We are beer geeks. All of us. It started at the top, in the beginning-before-the-beginning, in Mike Bristol's dorm room at Colorado State University in the late 80s. He had gotten turned on to American craft beer by the only ones that were available at the time, brews like Sierra Nevada and Anchor Steam, which offered a welcome break from the watery, tasteless pablum everyone was used to. Excited by the new (old) styles and embarking on a quest to brew what he wanted to drink, he started a homebrewing hobby that became a passion that morphed into an obsession that he eventually (when his relentless tweaking of yields, equipment and recipes threatened to take over not just all his free time, but all his discretionary income) made into a career. He and his pretty, new wife Amanda settled in Colorado Springs and opened the doors of Bristol Brewing Company in the summer of 1994 with a slate of excellent ales.

Over the years, Mike never stopped researching, drinking great beers or fine-tuning recipes. Then, inspired by his three week trip to Belgium in 2001, we brewed our first Belgian Dubbel. It was tasty and interesting, and certainly well-received, but it didn't quite achieve the mastery of the centuries old, masterpiece recipes he'd fallen in love with during his travels. More research, more tinkering, and more Belgians brews followed — all good, but for Mike, not good enough. We got busy, we grew, we moved, (we hired a Beerocrat), we expanded our territory and we didn't do a Belgian style for a while. "But," Mike says, "I always wanted to revisit it, always wanted to do it right."

Finally last year, after 16 and a half years in business, as our auspicious 6000th batch approached, Mike knew he wanted to brew something special to mark the milestone. He wanted to be back in the brewhouse like the good old days, with his sleeves rolled up, brewing a recipe of his own creation. (These days, Mike spends most of his time crunching numbers at a computer and the new beer comes from our very talented brewers: John, Patrick, Aaron and Chris.) By a serendipitous coincidence of timing, the 5,999th batch was scheduled for December 23rd, so the next day, on Christmas Eve morning, Mike and all the guys convened in the brewhouse, armed with several bottles of Belgian ales ("for inspiration", Mike says), an encyclopedic knowledge of Belgian brewing techniques, and Mike's new recipe for an epic day of brewing and good cheer ...

The result is a truly authentic Belgian Dubbel, with additional nods to the Bristol tradition: the malt bill bears a similarity to that of Laughing Lab, the beer that started it all. The yeast is a specially selected Belgian strain. We added a dark Belgian candy sugar, of the variety used virtually everywhere in Belgium, but not even available in the US until a few years ago. We brewed, as in common in the low country, in an open fermenter; the same vessel, as it happens, that Mike opened the brewery with in 1994.

So it is with both nostalgia and a vast sense of pride that we introduce the B6000, available only in 750 mL bottles, bottle conditioned, and hand corked, caged and labeled. It is, to use the Belgians' term, "digestible", meaning the mouthfeel and body are bright and fine, quaffable and not cloying or overtly alcoholic, despite its 8% ABV. The slightly spicy flavors evoke raisin, rum and caramel, and it finishes with a dry, expressive carbonation.

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